A chance to see Kirstenbosch in a whole new way

One of the augmented-reality artworks by Sigalit Landau from Jerusalem, Israel.

You will be able to see Kirtsenbosch Botanical Garden in a way you have never seen it before at an augmented-reality exhibition in September.

Visitors to the garden will use an app to view the international exhibition, Seeing the Invisible, that will premiere simultaneously at 12 participating gardens around the world.

Seeing the Invisible is the brainchild of Jerusalem Botanical Gardens and Outset Contemporary Art Fund, an organisation that supports and funds new art projects.

Kirstenbosch curator Werner Voigt said it was an honour for Kirstenbosch to be included in what was a first for a South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) garden.

“We’re also pleased that it is an environmentally friendly exhibition. It will require no artworks to be shipped, no electronic hardware or structures to be set up in the garden, resulting in no disruption to the garden and no wastage of materials.”

Many of the works created for the exhibition will address themes related to nature and sustainability and explore the connection between the physical world and the digital world.

Seeing the Invisible was always envisioned as an international collaboration, and the organisers set out to recruit 12 botanical gardens from around the world,” said Jerusalem Botanical Gardens executive director Hannah Rendell. “Each interested botanical garden that applied had a meeting with the curators and project management to determine if the project was a good fit for their garden.”

The public will be able to use the exhibition’s app on their smartphones and tablets to view the artworks, which will have settings linked to a specific route through the garden.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden events and tourism manager Sarah Struys said: “With augmented reality, movement and sound can be part of the creations in ways that would not be possible with a conventional artwork in an outdoor setting.”

Seeing the Invisible co-curator Tal Michael Haring said the interplay of the augmented-reality works with a vibrant natural setting broke down the perceived boundary between the natural and the digital.

“Coming out of the pandemic, when outdoor experiences and nature have taken on a new meaning and gravity in our lives, this exhibition represents a fresh way for people to engage with art and nature simultaneously.”

Further details on the exhibition will be announced in the coming weeks.